We understand that global affairs such as the Israel-Palestinian Conflict can feel overwhelming for some and confusing for others. We encourage our members to take care of themselves and their students and colleagues during this time of unsettling events. To learn more about what is happening we encourage you to seek out informative and nonpartisan sources of information, an example of which can be found here – https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/israeli-palestinian-conflict
Over the past few weeks, a number of campuses and campus presidents have found themselves in the middle of backlash, turmoil, and/or reduced confidence from their campus community. Attempts to quickly respond to the most recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict led to clumsy or seemingly offensive messages being distributed campus wide. While there may not have been anything wrong with the message, however, the audience just did not agree with the messaging, timing, approach, or in some cases, all of the above.
Often, when world issues begin to spark national debate, many of our constituents may not realize the complexity or veracity of the topic and, their expectations for widely circulated messaging is based more on anchor bias – a tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information one receives on a topic – than a true shared or universal perspective.
It is in the spirit of that perspective that we share this message. At this time and in the future, we know that the need to guide and support your campus community will not diminish, and is indeed a hallmark of great leaders. While we fully support campus leaders continuing to show leadership in this way, we also offer the reminder that you do not need to have all the answers or position your perspective as a guiding perspective in order to provide the kind of leadership your campus needs during these difficult times.
It may not get easier, but it can get better.
- Example of a presidential message that was well received – A message from the President of Bentley University Campus representatives remarked on the process that led up to the creation of the letter as being important. The President did not rush to issue a statement but instead prioritized connecting with students and community members who are most impacted before issuing this broader statement.
- 10 Ways to have Conscientious Conversations on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- Israel-Palestine: Avoiding Antisemitic and Islamophobic Hate Speech When Discussing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Do you have a resource or message that you think we should include in our resource list? Please submit recommendations HERE.